ASSE Des Plaines Illinois 1/13/99: Today, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is calling on its almost 33,000 members, all safety and health professionals, and the country overall to ensure that the national focus on occupational safety and health issues is not only maintained but vigorously implemented.

Accordingly, ASSE President Fred Fleming made the following statement:
ASSE is committed to enhancing partnership between federal and state safety and health agencies and the private sector. We acknowledge that compliance with safety and health laws is only one component of an effective and efficient safety and health program, however, it is an important component. As a national organization we are distressed to see that the critical issue of occupational safety and health is still not getting its due. This does not only mean enforcement of laws, but also other issues of critical importance such as research, technical assistance, and education and training. We find it ironic since the country saw the need to enact an Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA Act) in 1970 to address this issue. To this end, we call on the ASSE membership, all safety and health professionals, and the general public to take the following actions to ensure that the important national focus on occupational safety and health is maintained and acted upon in the coming millennium:

  • Contact your elected state and national representatives to stress the importance of supporting government agencies working to enhance safety and health through the appropriations/funding process. ASSE will continue its advocacy efforts to ensure that safety and health agencies are funded in a manner which will allow them to achieve their objectives.

  • Support agencies, research bodies, and other entities which enhance safety and health. The newest addition is the United States Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). This agency is not a regulatory agency, but instead focuses on identifying ways to improve safety and health through proactive incident investigation and analysis which can produce safety controls to prevent future losses, but Congress has provided the CSB with inadequate funding. The hope of ASSE, is that someday the CSB will be have resources similar to, and be as effective, as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

  • There are a variety of interests working against OSHA standards addressing safety and health programs and ergonomics. As a professional safety society, ASSE is committed to the idea that all firms regardless of size should have efficient and effective safety and health programs. While ASSE believes there is not a "one size fits all" approach to safety and health, the Society calls on its membership to support OSHA when warranted on the development of these initiatives.

  • Work to ensure that innovation in safety and health is rewarded and becomes the rule rather than the exception. ASSE commends the work of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to create a National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) to pursue research which could lead to better ways to safeguard the safety and health of the American workforce. It is imperative that such an initiative be continuously energized and expanded.

  • Support agencies such as DOT, CSB, EPA, MSHA, NTSB, and NHTSA to protect people, property, and the environment.

The American Society of Safety Engineers was founded in 1911, and now with almost 33,000 members is the world's oldest and largest society of professionals dedicated to the protection of people, property, and the environment. Please contact ASSE at 847/699-2929 if you should have any questions addressing this press release.

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